110 People Rescued Via Helicopter From One Of The World's Highest Gondolas In French Alps
33 forced to spend the night on gondolas in the Vallée Blanche area near Mont Blanc.
There are some places where we think it'd be really fun to spend the night. IKEA, for example. But for every place where we think it'd be fun to spend the night, we can list about half a dozen places where we think it'd be less fun to spend the night. One of the world's highest gondolas, in high winds, after cables have become tangled is the type of sleepover destination that, if we're being honest, we'd prefer to avoid.
Last night, 33 people were trapped overnight in the Vallée Blanche gondola’s cabins. While 65 of the lift’s 110 passengers were able to be evacuated relatively quickly, with 12 more being rescued overnight, 33 had to wait till this morning to be airlifted out via helicopter. The rescue operation has been a collaborative effort between teams from Switzerland, France, and Italy.
Those trapped on the lift overnight were supplied with energy bars, and blankets. In certain cases, emergency staff entered cabins to spend the night with alarmed passengers.
The lift, that offers spectacular views of Mont Blanc and the Vallée Blanche glacier, spans a distance of 1,648m (5,525ft). The gondola cabins run in groups of three, taking 35 minutes to cover the distance. The cabins transport users from the Gros Rognon station at 3,536m (11,601ft) to the Aiguille du Midi station at 3,778m (12,395ft). 55 years ago, a French fighter plane collided with the line and caused three cabins to fall - resulting in the death of six people.
In a statement released this morning, Compagnie du Mont-Blanc not only praised the rescuers but also “the exemplary conduct of the trapped persons as well as their calmness in view of the situation which allowed the evacuation to be carried out in all serenity."